Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard has gained approval in South Africa, as the country’s Competition Commission unconditionally approved the deal through Microsoft’s Anchorage sub-division.
This comes after the deal received approvals in Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Serbia, Chile, and Japan.
In a press release, the South African Competition Commission stated that it had no significant concerns regarding the possibility of Microsoft making the popular game Call of Duty exclusive to its Xbox platform.
The commission cited that Microsoft did not possess “the ability and incentive” to do so and argued that financially, it would not make sense to remove Call of Duty from PlayStation, given the large player base on Sony’s console.
Furthermore, the commission noted that Microsoft has already taken measures to ensure the continued availability of Call of Duty on other gaming platforms.
Microsoft and Nintendo have struck a 10-year deal for the game, and a similar offer has been extended to Sony, which has yet to respond. Sony has been one of the most vocal critics of the acquisition.
The commission concluded that the proposed transaction is unlikely to result in a substantial prevention or lessening of competition in relevant markets and does not raise significant public interest concerns.
One issue raised by regulators in the UK revolves around cloud gaming and the possibility of Microsoft creating unfair business conditions following the Activision Blizzard acquisition.
However, the South African statement should have mentioned cloud gaming, likely due to the region’s limited availability of cloud gaming services.
Microsoft’s proposed deal to acquire Activision Blizzard has yet to be approved in the United States and the UK.
The UK’s Competition & Markets Authority will announce its decision by April 26. Meanwhile, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is suing Microsoft to block the deal.
In response, Microsoft has stated that it will fight the US government in court, reminiscent of the United States v. Microsoft Corp. lawsuit regarding personal computers.
The outcome of that case was a settlement between Microsoft and the government, but it remains to be seen how the current legal battle over the Activision Blizzard deal will unfold.